Chicago Colleges: Northwestern

NU surprises Montgomery with scholarship

October, 23, 2013
Northwestern senior James Montgomery III, a walk-on for the Wildcats for the past two seasons, got a big surprise from head coach Chris Collins on Thursday.

In front of the Wildcats' team, Collins announced Montgomery would receive a full scholarship this year.

"He has as much energy as anybody on the team. ... He's our best perimeter defender," Collins told the team in a clip posted on Northwestern's You Tube channel. "The guy through 12 practices that has done the best job of doing what he's supposed to do every day is James."

The video clip also shows Montgomery, who is from Los Angeles, sharing the news by phone with his overjoyed mother and sister.

Montgomery spent his freshman season as a practice player with the women's team before making the Wildcats' roster as a sophomore. He scored 17 points in limited action over the last two seasons under coach Bill Carmody and clearly made a quick impression on his new coach, Collins, this season.

Podcast: Kain Colter on NU's success

October, 2, 2013
Northwestern QB Kain Colter dishes on the atmosphere in Evanston in the wake of the Wildcats' recent success, preparing to face Ohio State amid the hype surrounding this weekend's game, what it's like sharing the helm with Trevor Siemian and more.

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Click here for more audio from ESPN Chicago.

N. Illinois, Northwestern to play in 2014

September, 24, 2013
Northern Illinois and Northwestern will play each other next season for the first time since 2005, the schools announced on Tuesday.

Northern Illinois will play at Northwestern on Sept. 6, 2014. The schools have met seven times with Northwestern winning six games and one tie.

Northwestern defeated the Huskies 38-37 in their last meeting in 2005. Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton had 214 yards and four touchdowns in the game, and Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe had 245 yards and three touchdowns.

"This is a truly exciting time for Chicago's Big Ten Team as we continue to upgrade our nonconference football schedule," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said in a statement. "Both Pat Fitzgerald and I have said repeatedly that Northwestern is committed to challenging itself in nonconference play, in addition to the always rigorous Big Ten slate. We're excited to add the two-time defending MAC champions and 2013 Orange Bowl participants, and an in-state program that I have the deepest respect and admiration for, to a list of future opponents that already includes teams such as California, Notre Dame and Stanford. There has never been a better time to be a Wildcats football fan."

Northern Illinois was also looks forward to the opportunity to play Northwestern.

"I am extremely excited to add Northwestern, a high-quality opponent, to our 2014 football non-conference schedule," Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier said in a statement. "Declining attendance at college football games is a national trend and scheduling has been identified as a prime factor in the decline. I am continually evaluating our future football schedules, and the addition of this game is just the first announcement regarding concerted efforts to improve our football schedule, connect with our alumni base in the Chicago region, increase exposure for NIU and promote the NIU Huskies as a national brand."

Northern Illinois has played in five consecutive bowl games and has been to seven bowl games since 2004. The Huskies are 3-0 this season and received nine votes in the latest Associated Press poll and 21 votes in the USA Today poll.

Northwestern has also been to five consecutive bowl games and has made seven bowl appearances since 2003. The Wildcats are 4-0 this season and are ranked No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 16 in the USA Today poll.

Source: Gates to complete N'western staff

June, 17, 2013
Northwestern first-year coach Chris Collins is set to hire Armon Gates as the final assistant to his staff, according to a source.

Gates has spent the past two seasons as an assistant to Loyola coach Porter Moser. He was also an assistant coach at TCU and Kent State and a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky.

Northwestern is expected to announce the hiring of Gates once he is cleared through a background check, according to the source.

Moser said Monday that Collins was receiving a quality coach, recruiter and person.

"I think Armon is a rising star," Moser said. "He did a great job for me the two years he was here. He's a high-energy guy, a high-character guy. He was a good friend as well as a good colleague. I wish him all the best. Chris is getting a good one. Northwestern is getting a good person and good coach."

Gates is from the Chicago area and played at Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, Ill. He played at Kent State and earned his master's degree from the school in 2007.

Gates will complete Collins' staff. Collins previously announced the hiring of assistant coaches Brian James and Patrick Baldwin. Tavaras Hardy recently left Northwestern's staff to take an assistant position at Georgetown.

Collins adds James to N'western staff

June, 13, 2013
Northwestern coach Chris Collins named his former high school coach Brian James to his coaching staff as an assistant on Thursday.

James coached Collins at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Ill. James spent the last three seasons as an assistant to Collins' father, Doug Collins, with the Philadelphia 76ers.

"We're very excited to add Brian James to our staff," Collins said in a statement. "He has been a big part of my family going back to my high school days when he was my coach. Brian has been a great mentor for me. A lot of the things that I have carried with me throughout my playing and coaching career are things that I've learned from him. I look forward to having him on staff to lend his expertise. His experience coaching great players in the NBA for so many years will be a huge asset to our program as we move forward."

James has 14 years of NBA coaching experience. He was also an assistant on the Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons. He was also as an NBA analyst for and spent two years as an advance scout for the Seattle Supersonics.

"This is somewhat full circle for me personally," James said in a statement. "Chris Collins and I have been extremely close since he starred for me at Glenbrook North at the age of 14. Now 25 years later, I get to coach with one of the most competitive big-game participants I've ever been associated with, regardless of the level. I'm elated that Chris would ask me to rejoin him as our staff strives to make Northwestern basketball a household name."

Collins still has one assistant opening to fill because Tavaras Hardy recently left the program to become an assistant coach at Georgetown. Collins previously hired Patrick Baldwin to his staff.

Fitzgerald's new best recruiting tool

May, 21, 2013
A few years ago, most would have called Pat Fitzgerald delusional. Even more would have called his pitch sour grapes for missing out on so many prospects to the rest of the Big Ten. But in the midst of a 2014 recruiting class already considered Northwestern's best ever, Fitzgerald just tries to say it unpretentiously.

"I'm not sure if the term 'selling' is right," Fitzgerald said. "I tell our staff this, and I say this humbly: For a young man to get a top-15 education and compete for Big Ten championships in the backyard of Chicago and to be around our players, if I have to sell it that hard, I'm not sure he's a right fit."

Whether or not Fitzgerald is selling, high school recruits are buying. The Wildcats have ESPN's 17th-best recruiting class, which trails only Michigan (No. 1), Ohio State (13) and Penn State (14) among Big Ten teams.

Read the entire story.

Coach K optimistic Collins will succeed

May, 3, 2013
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, not surprisingly, is optimistic that Chris Collins will make an immediate impact as the new men's basketball coach at Northwestern.

"It's a great opportunity for Chris, and also for Northwestern," Krzyzewski told "Mike & Mike In the Morning." "The one thing that Chris brings right away is immense energy. He's an emotional guy. He's been such a huge part of our program. He's been with us as a coach and player for almost 20 years. He'll recruit outstanding players. He's been accustomed to recruiting outstanding players at Duke. Northwestern is a great school, a great opportunity. A new system, new spirit. It's a great, great fit. I'm excited for him."

Collins was a star player at Glenbrook North before attending Duke.

"He's returning home," Coach K said. "That's what he calls home, where he was a great player at Glenbrook North. The people up there are kind of welcoming him as the guy who came back home. And he's already lived the dream, the Chicago fan's dream. He shot a puck at a Blackhawks game, he's thrown out the first pitch at a Cubs game, and he sung the seventh inning. I told him to get all that stuff in before you lose a game."

Drew Crawford staying with Wildcats

April, 19, 2013
Northwestern redshirt senior forward Drew Crawford announced Friday he has decided not to transfer and will remain at the school to play his final season.

After playing 10 games last year, Crawford used a medical redshirt because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He could have transferred to another program by taking advantage of the NCAA rule for fifth-year graduate students.

Crawford's decision was made tougher when Bill Carmody was fired after last season. Crawford had been recruited by and played under Carmody for four seasons. Carmody recently was replaced by Chris Collins.

"I can't wait to be on the court with my Northwestern teammates again this upcoming season," Crawford said in a statement. "Coach Collins has brought great energy to the program and we all believe in his vision. I have loved my experience here at NU and I'm proud to call it home. I'm ready to do all I can to lead this group and make my last year at Northwestern a great one."

Read the entire story.

NU's Collins retains Hardy as assistant

April, 5, 2013
Northwestern coach Chris Collins announced Friday he retained Tavaras Hardy as the first member of his coaching staff.

Hardy, a former Northwestern player, was on former Wildcats coach Bill Carmody's staff for the last seven seasons and was the associate head coach for the last two years. Hardy was the lead recruiter for a number of Northwestern's top players, including John Shurna and Drew Crawford, and was on staff for four consecutive NIT appearances.

"I'm thrilled to have Tavaras as a member of our coaching staff," Collins said in a statement. "His first-hand experience as a student-athlete at Northwestern is a tremendous asset to the program in that he understands what a special place this is and what it takes to be successful here. He is an outstanding talent in our profession and has a great understanding of the game. Tavaras has an excellent ability to communicate with young players which makes him a terrific recruiter and mentor."

(Read full post)

Collins vows to build winner at NU

April, 2, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Chris Collins says he's ready to put his own stamp on a program and vows to build a winner at Northwestern.

Read the entire story.

Source: Northwestern interviews Collins

March, 26, 2013
Duke assistant coach Chris Collins interviewed for the Northwestern job on Monday, a source told the Associated Press.

Collins is considered the leading candidate to replace Bill Carmody, a source told The source said the interview went well. Carmody was fired after not making the NCAA tournament in 13 seasons.

Collins is a native of the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Ill., where he starred as a McDonald's All American at Glenbrook North High School. He expressed his ambition to be a head coach last year before Illinois hired John Groce to replace Bruce Weber.

"I definitely want to be a head coach," Collins told at the time. "For all of us who have been players and assistants for Coach K, he wouldn't want us around if we didn't have aspirations to have our own program. I'm looking for the right fit for me and my family, a place I can go and believe in that school and what they're trying to accomplish and have fun doing it."

Collins has recruited the Chicago area for Duke and helped land Jon Scheyer and Sean Dockery for the Blue Devils.

When talking last year about Illinois, he mentioned the familiarity of the area as an attractive feature.

"It's my home. It's in the Big Ten. There's talent in the state," Collins said last year. "Of course, you have aspirations to be a head coach in an area you really love like Chicago, so of course there's going to be interest. I haven't talked to them."

Duke faces Michigan State on Friday in a Sweet 16 matchup.

Scheyer: Collins will make great head coach

March, 22, 2013
Former Duke star and Illinois native Jon Scheyer said Friday Duke assistant coach Chris Collins would make an "amazing" head coach if he gets the chance.

[+] EnlargeChris Collins and Jon Scheyer
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesJon Scheyer credits his former Duke coach Chris Collins for much of his basketball development.
Out of respect for Collins, Scheyer didn't want to specifically talk about Collins as a candidate for Northwestern's coaching opening. Collins is expected to interview with Northwestern next week, a source recently told

Scheyer, a former Illinois Mr. Basketball, has known Collins for most of his life. Scheyer and Collins both grew up in Northbrook, Ill. Scheyer attended Collins' high school games at Glenbrook North as a kid, was recruited by Collins and was later coached by him at Duke.

"I always thought since I was a player at Duke that he was going to make an amazing coach," Scheyer said by phone from Spain, where he now plays professionally. "I always thought growing up people are meant to do one thing. He has a love for basketball. Not many people can say the two people who have mentored them are Doug Collins (Chris' father) and Mike Krzyzewski, two of the greatest coaches."

Scheyer said he was especially impressed by Collins' basketball knowledge while at Duke. During scrimmages in practice, Scheyer was surprised how Collins was able to design plays to get open shots for or against him.

(Read full post)

Father: NU recruit let out of commitment

March, 19, 2013
With Northwestern now looking for a new coach, basketball recruit Jaren Sina will be released from his letter of intent, but is still considering the Wildcats, his father said on Tuesday.

Read the entire story.

Offense falters in Northwestern's loss

March, 15, 2013
CHICAGO -- On what could have very well been the last game of Bill Carmody's Northwestern tenure, his Princeton offense flunked.

The Wildcats went scoreless for the first 7 1/2 minutes of their 73-59 loss to Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday night.

For the Wildcats (13-19, 4-14 in Big Ten regular season), it was a fitting swan song to a lost season and for Carmody, a 13-year tenure that resulted in zero NCAA tournament appearances. Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips is expected to make a decision soon on Carmody's future. He has one year remaining on a two-year contract extension.

Northwestern missed its first seven shots and had three turnovers as Iowa went ahead 11-0. Nikola Cerina's layup put the Wildcats on the board with 12:32 left in the first half.

"I think at the beginning we weren't executing our offense very well," said senior guard Reggie Hearn, who led Northwestern with 19 points and 10 rebounds in his final game. "We had some guys out of position, we weren't communicating well about what the play was and our offense was kind of stagnant and I felt at times when we're not going on offense, it affects our defense. And we obviously weren't playing defense well initially and we just got in a big hole."

The Wildcats never led, but got their deficit down to 15-9 before Iowa answered with a 14-2 run.

The undermanned Northwestern team had a rough season after preseason expectations of finally making the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. Northwestern lost two key players to injury, Drew Crawford in December and Jared Swopshire in February, and one to an academic suspension before the season in JerShon Cobb. The remaining players would've been more at home in the Ivy League.

"It was really difficult, especially for the senior class," senior guard Alex Marcotullio said. "But that's basketball. You're going to have to deal with injuries and it's really tough for us being our last year and having all these little fluke things happen to us. But it's no excuse."

Give the Wildcats credit for making it hard on Iowa in the second half. The Hawkeyes had a 36-22 lead at the half, but shot only 28.1 percent in the second half as Northwestern sank into a 2-3 zone.

The Wildcats cut their deficit to single digits a handful of times in the second half, getting as close as 50-43 with 8:27 left, but Iowa never let them make a serious run.

"We knew we had to give it our all," Marcotullio said. "We had one last run in us, maybe a couple. We just said to each other, are we going to leave it all out here or are we going to give up? And it seemed like we came together for a few minutes there and we brought it back to seven.

"And a couple missteps here and there and then they increased the lead. So that was kind of deflating. But I'm proud of the way we fought. Just a few things that we needed to clear up and we didn't take care of really early."

Rapid Reaction: Iowa 73, Northwestern 59

March, 14, 2013
Here's a quick look at Iowa's 73-59 Big Ten tournament win over Northwestern at the United Center on Thursday night.

How it happened: The undermanned Wildcats didn't have a chance. Northwestern went scoreless for the first 7½ minutes, going down 11-0, and never got closer than within six points after that. Northwestern shot 32 percent from the field in the first half and 36.7 percent for the game. The Wildcats kept it interesting in the second half, trimming the deficit to single digits several times, but couldn't save their season. Iowa plays Michigan State on Friday.

Player of the game: Reggie Hearn, a former walk-on, scored 19 points and added 10 rebounds and three blocks.

What it means: Northwestern coach Bill Carmody might be fired after 13 seasons, none of which resulted in an NCAA tournament berth. This team was promising before JerShon Cobb was suspended in September and Drew Crawford had shoulder surgery in December. The Wildcats finished 13-19 with a 4-14 record in the Big Ten regular season, their first losing season since 2007-08.

What's next: Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips likely fires Carmody and begins a "national search" for his replacement. Whether that hire works out is anybody's guess.



Thursday, 9/18
Saturday, 9/20